|The Coopera restaurant in San Joaquin|
For the "getting settled" part of our adventure, mostly it's going smoothly. We like our apartment; it's pretty and we each have our own office. However, I would change a few things, like the oven that doesn't really work and the tiny one-bowl sink. It would also be nice if the washing machine had hot-water wash, but that luxury is starting to appear only in the newest construction in Cuenca. And, I would like a freezer I didn't have to defrost. And the stove doesn't really simmer. So, I bought a single-burner hot plate for soups and sauces and a toaster oven for grilling and baking, which I am learning to navigate. It's all just a matter of working with what we have.
And since there is no central heating, and we are in winter, we will be scouting out a propane heater for the living/dining room. After we get that, we can actually think of hosting dinner parties and other get-togethers for the new friends we have made. Looking forward to that.
On the positive side, we have amazing Ecuadorian neighbors who have been so welcoming and generous in assisting us with getting settled (and helped me learn how to get the propane delivered — over the phone, in Spanish). Another good thing is that we are on the ground floor, so I don't have to navigate large amounts of stairs on a regular basis (my knees are loving this, and are actually improving).
We are set back from one of the main drags, which makes getting a taxi a snap — no need to call for one as the most I have ever had to wait was ten minutes. As for traffic noise, we are urban types and actually miss the background of people and traffic if a place is too quiet. In addition, our apartment is close to the main university, so it is a lively student-oriented neighborhood (and the modern university performing arts center is only two blocks away).